UC Davis Early Science Workshop: Tara Nummedal, “Singing Nature’s Secrets: Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) and Furnace and Fugue (2020).”

Prof. Tara Nummedal (Brown University) will talk at the UC Davis Early Science Workshop about the new, digital edition of poet-alchemist Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618), with scholarly commentary, which she co-edited with Donna Bialik. Combining word, image, and music in a beautifully realized, interactive format, Furnace and Fugue is a model for the creative potential of a digital edition of an early modern book. The talk will take place January 13th on Zoom from 4:30–6 PM Pacific Standard Time. The Zoom registration link can be found on the Early Science Workshop home page.


Singing Nature’s Secrets: Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) and Furnace and Fugue (2020).

In 1618, on the eve of the Thirty Years’ War, the German alchemist and physician Michael Maier published Atalanta fugiens, an intriguing and complex musical alchemical emblem book designed to engage the ear, eye, and intellect. This talk will explore how Maier’s masterpiece worked as a tool to generate endless new insights into nature’s secrets, as well as an engagement with the shifting anxieties around the early modern disciplines that bridged sense and intellect, theory and practice, scholarship and craft in early seventeenth-century Europe. Finally, we will take a brief tour of Furnace and Fugue (University of Virginia Press, 2020), a new rendering of Atalanta fugiens that aims to reimagine Maier’s book in the digital age.